I had the privilege to be educated by the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco. Don Bosco dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth in Torino. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment. When we were in school, we were doing dishes, cleaning up the dining hall, visiting retirement homes, and doing all kinds of “on the ground” charitable work. What stuck with me most and why I later felt so at home with the Lutheran faith and CGS was:
Like any family living in sunny but expensive Bay Area, we always must juggle time, stress and money. Working and raising two teenagers, we try to balance educating, sky rocketing cost of living, fueling 3000 calories per day diets, and saving so we can visit our loved ones in Europe and so our kids hopefully don’t have to worry about their aging parents. We love participating in CGS activities whenever we can, God works our hands, and the Safe Car Park ministry are our favorites. Ansgar made a stint in the Keynote group and I would love to join the choir, but as the saying goes too many commitments, too little time. We are also fortunate to participate in other charitable work with the Johanniter order, the Masonic Service Association at the VA, teaching Tai Chi and Martha’s Kitchen.
At the October church council Jean – watching our congregation finances with the utmost care, thank you Jean! - brought up that our donation level is under budget and that it would be good to raise awareness of this fact in our community newsletter. So here you go, here is my attempt to talk about a very sensitive topic. I don’t like to ask people to give money and per the above I prefer giving time and “doing” the work. But as a former controller I understand the realities of keeping a balanced budget to fund all the wonderful ministries of our beloved CGS church.
Our world today is all caught up in the daily media reports of war, inflation, rioting, latest COVID variant, recession and natural disasters. Honestly, I often turn off the news as to me it’s mental poisoning. I try to spend time on activities that will help me stay positive like dancing, giving, meditating, reading uplifting works and praying. Like all of us – and especially now that I must find a new job, I need to overcome my fears and give while trusting that at some point this too shall pass.
One of my mother’s favorite sayings – which came from my grandmother who lived thru WWI, WWII and the Algeria wars was “Tout va bien a celui qui sait attendre et qui croit en Dieu”. Which means good things will come to those who are patient and have faith. Now if a devout and loving farmer’s voice might not be as meaningful to you as it is to me, I will quote my favorite verses from the scriptures on the topic of trusting a better future and giving.
On Trust - John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It Is Better to Give Than Receive - Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
On Treasures in Heaven - Matthew 6:16-34
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
On Freedom from Fear - Matthew 6:16-34
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
From the bottom of my heart, I pray that this season will bring new energy and hope to your life. Autumn is so much full of positivity, happiness and goodness. It is the season of giving, and nobody can ever tell you what to give, you know it in your heart. Just go and do it.
Isabelle Coste-Fürst – CGS Council Member
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.